»Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
»765 km2 (187th)
»$33.535 billion (98th)
» Per capita -$28,559 (12th)
»$28.728 billion (93rd)
» Per capita -$24,465 (28th)
»Bahraini dinar (BHD)
Bahrain is a small island country situated near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is an archipelago with Bahrain Island, the largest land mass, at 55 km (34 mi) long by 18 km (11 mi) wide. Saudi Arabia lies to the west and is connected to Bahrain by the King Fahd Causeway while Iran lies 200 km (124 mi) to the north across the Persian Gulf. The peninsula of Qatar is to the southeast across the Gulf of Bahrain. The population in 2010 stood at 1,234,571, including 666,172 non-nationals.
Bahrain is the site of the ancient land of the Dilmun civilisation. Bahrain was one of the earliest areas to convert to Islam in 628 AD. Following a period of Arab rule, Bahrain was occupied by the Portuguese in 1521, who in turn were expelled in 1602 by Shah Abbas I of the Safavid dynasty under the Persian Empire. In 1783, the Bani Utbah clan captured Bahrain from Nasr Al-Madhkur and has since been ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family, with Ahmed al Fateh as Bahrain’s first hakim. In the late 1800s, following successive treaties with the British, Bahrain became a protectorate of the United Kingdom. In 1971, Bahrain declared independence.
According to a January 2006 report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, Bahrain has the fastest growing economy in the Arab world. Bahrain also has the freest economy in the Middle East and is twelfth freest overall in the world based on the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal.
In 2008, Bahrain was named the world’s fastest growing financial center by the City of London’s Global Financial Centres Index. Bahrain’s banking and financial services sector, particularly Islamic banking, have benefited from the regional boom driven by demand for oil. Petroleum production and processing is Bahrain’s most exported product, accounting for 60% of export receipts, 70% of government revenues, and 11% of GDP. Aluminum production is the second most exported product, followed by finance and construction materials.
Economic conditions have fluctuated with the changing price of oil since 1985, for example during and following the Persian Gulf crisis of 1990–91. With its highly developed communication and transport facilities, Bahrain is home to a number of multinational firms and construction proceeds on several major industrial projects
. A large share of exports consist of petroleum products made from imported crude oil, which accounted for 51% of the country’s imports in 2007. Bahrain depends heavily on food imports to feed its growing population; it relies heavily on meat imports from Australia and also imports 75% of its total fruit consumption needs. Since only 2.9% of the country’s land is arable, agriculture contributes to 0.5% of Bahrain’s GDP. In 2004, Bahrain signed the US-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement, which will reduce certain trade barriers between the two nations.
Bahrain is ranked 76 with an Economic Complexity Index (ECI) of -0.0762288
Top 5 Products exported by Bahrain
- Refined Petroleum (58%),
- Raw Aluminium (11%),
- Petroleum Gas (4.1%),
- Iron Ore (3.3%),
- Aluminium Plating (3.1%)
Top 5 Export destinations of Bahrain
- Tanzania (10%),
- India (10%),
- South Korea (9.1%),
- United States (6.2%),
- Japan (5.3%)
Top 5 Products imported by Bahrain
- Cars (17%),
- Iron Ore (5.7%),
- Aluminium Oxide (2.4%),
- Gas Turbines (2.1%),
- Refined Petroleum (1.4%)
Top 5 Import origins of Bahrain
- China (16%),
- Japan (11%),
- United States (8.5%),
- India (8.3%),
Bahrain receives four million tourists a year. Most visitors are from Arab states of the Persian Gulf but there are an increasing number of tourists from outside the region.
The Lonely Planet guide describes Bahrain as “an excellent introduction to the Gulf”because of its Arab heritage and the reputation that it used to enjoy as safe and modern. The ancient civilisation of Dilmun, which dominated trade between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley Civilization, was centered in Bahrain. The inhabitants of Dilmun left behind settlements and temples and tens of thousands of burial mounds which dot the landscape.
Tourists are attracted to Bahrain for the weather, unique ambiance (which is completely different from the average European package experience), diving and water sports, local culture and the relaxed friendly atmosphere. Bahrain also enjoys a liberal social climate, good shopping and minimal travel restrictions.